South America by Geezer

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by RexBuck, Oct 14, 2012.

  1. CourtRand

    CourtRand Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2009
    Oddometer:
    227
    Location:
    Quito, Ecuador
    You are doing a great job of seeing Ecuador - its even hard to avoid that potholed road from Quevedo to the coast. Great pics - thanks for the great report...:clap
  2. GSAGiuseppe

    GSAGiuseppe Lewis&Clark Tracker

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    13
    Location:
    Interior of BC
    Holy C!$& Steve after that collision with the weed whacked. You look like Jick's twin brother.
  3. Jick Magger

    Jick Magger Exile on Main Street

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2011
    Oddometer:
    861
    Location:
    Okanagan Valley BC, Canada/Scottsdale, Arizona
    Your no Jick Magger....but you know Rexbuck ..."there's nothing like a barber with a good sense of humour"<a href="http://jickmagger.smugmug.com/Other/rexbuck-haircut/27904320_M4Jvq3#!i=2354954596&k=bfGmZRN&lb=1&s=A" title="Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug"><img src="http://jickmagger.smugmug.com/Other/rexbuck-haircut/i-bfGmZRN/0/M/Rexbuck%20haircut-M.jpg" title="Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug" alt="Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug"></a>
  4. RexBuck

    RexBuck Long timer

    Joined:
    May 5, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,103
    Location:
    Interior BC, Canada
    It's the cheesy smile, right? :D
  5. RexBuck

    RexBuck Long timer

    Joined:
    May 5, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,103
    Location:
    Interior BC, Canada
    Right you are, there is no other Jick Magger. :rilla

    I knew I was going to get what I asked for when he gave up on the buzz clippers and just grabbed the regular clippers and started running them up and down my head like he was shearing a sheep. I do like how he did my eyebrows though :evil
  6. RexBuck

    RexBuck Long timer

    Joined:
    May 5, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,103
    Location:
    Interior BC, Canada
    Left Mandála after a week stay today and heading back towards Quito. Pretty uneventful ride up the coast.


    At one point, saw a big sign on the highway saying Detour <<<< and all the traffic seemed to be going that way so, we did too. Turns out this was the road to what looked like a decent sized town. Saw on the GPS where one of the town roads went back to the highway so headed for that figuring that was the return. Typical town road . . . then turns to potholes . . . then potholes morph into little ponds . . . which morph into mud puddles . . . then just mud.



    Let Mrs RB off and charge on. Doing quite fine until the mud starts to get real sticky with some pretty hefty ruts . . . do a right hander using the right side bag as a brake. Gitter up again. Head a short ways down, fall into another frickin rut and now do a lefthander, laying sideways using the left hand bag as a brake. Grrr. Some guys stopped to see if they could help but we had it up again, got it straight and just a short distance to the road and I made it this time. Just needed some patience. Sorry, no pics . . . you’ll just have to take my word for it. :deal


    Wanted to stay at a place some friends had recommended but it was full.



    Arrived in Pedernales – drove around and finally grabbed an ok Hostel – no internet, no HW but secure parking. Oh, and $14 for the 2 of us. :norton



    [​IMG]


    Wandered around – quite the tourist town. Nice beach. I think we were the only non-Ecuadorians in the whole place and it ain’t small.



    Watched some teenage girls trying to be cool smoking some cigarettes - probably for the first time. Didn’t have a clue – it was hilarious.. You remember, high school, hold the smoke at the tips of the fingers, flick the ash off about 7 times between every drag, take a big drag so your cheeks are all puffed out, don’t inhale then, suavely blow enough smoke out of your mouth to make the whole building look like it may be burning. Then flick, flick, flick and quickly suck another one. :jack


    Note to self, don't walk around this town drunk . . .

    [​IMG]

    Walked uptown then had a great meal of rice and a whole bunch of seafood – was supposed to be for two, could have fed 4 teenage boys with it– very good.
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  7. RexBuck

    RexBuck Long timer

    Joined:
    May 5, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,103
    Location:
    Interior BC, Canada
    Found out why only $14. The Hostel is about 100’ from the beach. The beach has bars. The bars are open till everyone goes home. The bars play music. The music is played by DJs. The DJs have microphones. The microphones and the music is processed through a sound system suitable for a major rock concert. The DJs like to yell and scream and kay yai all the time. The good news was that the power eventually went out. Peace.

    Got outta Dodge first thing in the morning and had a pretty relaxing ride to Mindo. Pretty, lots of farming – bananas, avocados, mangos, rice, onions and a lot of stuff I didn’t regognize. Couple of random shots.


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]



    Wasn’t too sure what to expect with Mindo but turned out to be a nice, funky, tourist town. Apparently known for bird and butterfly watching. The view from our hotel over the town


    [​IMG]


    Had a great meal of Churrazco and Mrs RB had a Talapia, a fish served a lot in restaurants.


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]



    Left Mindo and had a short ride to the Middle of the Earth, where the Inca’s had determined the Equator was.

    They were actually pretty good and were only about 200 yards off of the precise Equator.

    We wandered around the big park they have developed around the original Incan mark. A line of busts of famous scientists lead up to the big monument.


    [​IMG]


    They have a couple of museums there. Some big bugs found in South America.

    [​IMG]


    There is a second monument somewhere nearby that is on the real equator. Must have asked six people where the other monument was and they all sent me to the Inca Museum which is supposed to be on the real equator - it probably was but no monument. Asked the guard at the museum where it was and he just gave me a blank look. Never did find it although every other rider through seemed to be able to. :(:

    Finally got my GPS and started walking around until I had 00’s – was in the middle of the highway in front of the Inca Museum. We've already been back and forth across the equator a couple of times but here is my official equator picture.


    [​IMG]

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  8. RexBuck

    RexBuck Long timer

    Joined:
    May 5, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,103
    Location:
    Interior BC, Canada
    Now that we are back at Casa Helbling, decide to take in some final sites of Quito. Grabbed a cab and headed to the TelefériQo, Quito’s gondola up the side of a neighboring volcano.

    The TelefériQo takes you up to about 13,000 feet. There is a 4 km trail to the peak adding another 1200 feet or so altitude if you are so inclined. We walked part way but didn’t come prepared for a hike so knocked off at the first km or so. And, it’s 13,000 feet . . . I was a wheezing and a puffin anyhow.

    Some views of the city

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    Towers of the TeleferiQo in the background
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    The peak you can walk to the top of


    [​IMG]


    Some people choose to ride horses up to the top. Now in this pic, the guy in the yellow shirt is the star. They had passed me and suddenly I realize this guy is no longer sitting on the horse but on his back on the ground with his foot stuck in the stirrup. While I was laughing, rather than stopping to take a picture like I should have, I started running, no walking fast to help him. The girl got there first and by the time I got my camera out she had him unhooked. Probably all that camera equipment around his neck got him lopsided.


    [​IMG]


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    Went out to a nice Ecuadoran restaurant for the last meal. Mrs RB had been Jonesin for a Cuy (Kind of a large Guinea Pig) ever since she got down so she had a part of one. She said it tasted like chicken. I had a bite and thought it tasted kinda fishy. Now I've officially had a Cuy and don't have to have a whole one of those rodents at some roadside stand.


    [​IMG]


    I had a much more sensible meat dish which was outstanding. That stuff on the right was a kind of sprouted corn with some crunch stuff mixed in. Good meal.


    [​IMG]


    Got Mrs RB delivered to the airport at some ungodly hour in the middle of the night.


    I’ve been having a vibration in the bike that I’ve noticed since Colombia and it has just become worse. Tried a number of different solutions but nothing worked. After corresponding with Woody of Woody’s Wheelworks, the Guru on things round, I got to checking wheels, tires and bearings closely. All ok but I did notice the front seemed to be wearing more on one side of the tire than the other. :huh

    On a hunch this could be the culprit, I rushed over to Freedom Bike Rentals and lo and behold they had a TKC80 in the size I needed siting on their floor. They were kind enough to sell it to me. Another big Thank You to Court and his crew at Freedom Bike Rentals.

    Mounted the new tire and hope for a smooth ride tomorrow.

    Random pics. Casa Helbling - We were three times during the month using them as our home-base while in Ecuador. Claus and his crew are first rate and went out of their way to accommodate us.
    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


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    Don't let your girlfriend near your helmet in a fight . . .


    [​IMG]


    Buses in Latin America are usually privately owned and have a helper whose job it is to holler at people and try to get them on the bus and to collect fares.


    [​IMG]

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  9. RexBuck

    RexBuck Long timer

    Joined:
    May 5, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,103
    Location:
    Interior BC, Canada
    Back travelling solo. Seems quite weird at first, I was a bit out of sorts for the first few hours. In fact, I first started by dropping my fully loaded bike taking it off the center stand. Have no idea what brain fart happened there . . .

    Once I got on the highway, I noticed the vibration was gone. :clap Guess that front tire had started to wear uneven for some reason and over time just exacerbated the abnormal wear. I only got about 2/3 of the use I normally get from this tire. I think it’ll turn out to be one of three possible causes:

    • Defective tire;
    • I had Dyna-Beads (used for dynamic wheel balancing) in that tube for quite awhile and they might have clumped from an accumulation of oil in compressed air or glue from the vulcanized patch which will throw the balance off. Even though I had replaced this tube, I suspect the damage would have been done and it got worse;
    • If the vibration comes back again with the new tire then it’s likely something to do with the wheel and I'll have to deal with that later.
    As I was heading south of Quito, could see Volcan Coxatapaki – quite pretty. Forgot to put my camera mount on this morning and nowhere to stop for pics. Spectacular –snow covered peak.

    Wanted to ride some of the road Mrs RB and I did a couple of weeks ago. It was a glorious day with a lot of sunshine and no rain. Had found a shortcut over to the highway. Had the usual small town problems – “turn right” but one way the other way . . . road closed – find a work around going down dirt and sandy one lane roads with trucks and buses coming the other way using most of the one lane. :eek1 Finally get on the road I’m supposed to be on.

    A few miles later there are roads going in all directions but I can’t find where the road I need carries on. It does somewhere but not where the map says and I can’t find anyone to ask. I unsuccessfully try a number of them and decide to get to the highway at the nearest point. I can see the highway on the GPS so am able to work my way over to a good sized neighboring town on the highway – just keep turning down roads that seem to be taking me in the right direction. Eventually they do. It was pretty country though


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    Beautiful day with broken clouds. Really enjoyable ride on the new part of this road. A couple of pics from this little jaunt


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    Cutting the road through the hillside reveals some interesting geological layering. I'm guessing some of that was ocean bottom at one time and to think of the energy required to push this whole thing up to 12 or 13,000 feet is mind boggling.



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    Got back into Pujili and was looking for some food. Spotted this place with a barbeque going with what looked like some big chunks of meat cooking. Meat . . . mmmmm! Stopped and asked and turns out it was . . . Borrego . . . lamb. And, it was basically the whole animal spread out in one piece on the barbque.



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    My mouth was watering. Then she points to one of these rotating rotisseries that has some chickens and cuyes going and tells me she has only cuyes.I’m ready to leave and I ask again no Borrego? Yes, you can have Borrego. I think she meant that in the rotisserie only the cuyes were done. So I stayed. Mmm good.


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    They have a national election coming so you see signs and flags everywhere. I thought it interesting that even some of the candidates in this region sport the hats seen so frequently in the area.


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    It's tough seeing whole mountains now because there is so much cloud hanging around. This is a neighboring volcano to Tungurahua next to Baños


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    I really liked Baños and decided to return there for the night. It was only about 30 km out of the way. Stayed at the La Floesta again - great place - $35 for a single including breakfast, secure parking, hot water, good WiFi and couple blocks from the town center.

    Took a couple of pics from the walls of the hotel. The first is an aerial photo of Baños and Volcan Tungurahua. It's been impossible seeing the top of the mountain and I find it fascinating that this town is at the very base of this active volcano.



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    This one is apparently from the government detailing the fines for speeding. Holy cow! 10 km over in town or 15 km over in a curve and can go to jail for 3 days. Yikes! I’m not a fast rider but I have to admit some speed limits are insanely low and it’s damn near impossible to stay close to them unless I was really hung over. I know, I know – these are RPRs . . . Revenue Production Roads. So far, touch wood I’ve only had to deal with one guy (in Panama) looking for an income enhancement program.


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    Went to a little café next to the town square for dinner. Had a very tasty piece of beef. I have to work on how to ask for my meat cooked. Keep getting it over cooked. Good meal and good Chilean house wine. Ecuadorians don’t seem to be big wine drinkers and in some towns it’s tough finding any wine, even boxed wine. When you do find it though it is usually Chilean or Argentinian which is quite fine.
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  10. owlex

    owlex n00b

    Joined:
    May 25, 2011
    Oddometer:
    2
    Location:
    South O.C.-Ca.
    Greetings from So. Ca. I've been following your travels and have a question or two.
    What's the average cost per day for a trip like yours, ie: extrapolating for the total costs? I'm a noob to ADV but been riding just locally for many years. I will be retiring next year which will open up the opportunity to do long journies, so starting to figure what's attainable for what I'll have ($) to play with. I'm currently all set up with a newer F800GS having had several other Bmers.... so my equipment is mostly taken care of.
    Best regards & safe travels,
    -Alex
    *Owlex
  11. ONandOFF

    ONandOFF ¿to post or to ride?

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2009
    Oddometer:
    7,537
    Location:
    Shenandoah Valley riding wonderland
    And greetings from Virginia!
    Hi RexBuck, I just came across your trip - looks fascinating. Only seen the last page so haven't seen the whole picture of what you're up to yet. Great pictures and descriptions! Just thought I'd shout out now since you're working your way around Ecuador and I've been to Ecuador a few times and have been fortunate enough to travel around there a bit. I did write up some suggestions for another traveler in case you're interested in seeing that, I can PM it your way. Hit me up and let me know! Am interested to know the cost of hanging out at that beautiful resort in Puerto Lopez for a week with the Mrs. Sure looked fine. Too late to recommend a great restaurant in Montañita... I know... :dunno Peace!

    PS: love it when people quote your entire post with all the pictures in order to comment... :bluduh
    :lol3
  12. RexBuck

    RexBuck Long timer

    Joined:
    May 5, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,103
    Location:
    Interior BC, Canada
    Hey Alex
    Welcome to the Forum and thanks for following along.

    The cost thing is a bit difficult as I had a couple of things going on that others wouldn't such as spending some extra time in California on the way down and my wife joining me in Ecuador.

    So, adjusting for those two things and not including any preparation costs it looks like I have spent just over $100 per day so far. That would be a bit on the high side for many travelers as many camp when they can or use less expensive hotels/hostels, etc I think you would have to work pretty hard to get costs below $60

    I don't have a breakdown of individual costs and they vary a lot from country to country. Largest single cost was shipping me and the bike from Panama to Colombia at about $1300.
  13. RexBuck

    RexBuck Long timer

    Joined:
    May 5, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,103
    Location:
    Interior BC, Canada
    Thanks for joining in ONandOFF and thanks for the compliments.

    You may notice in the titles of the posts that I put the date that particular post occurred. My posts seem to run about one to two weeks behind. So I actually left Ecuador a week ago and am now in Peru. Thanks for the offer though.
  14. RexBuck

    RexBuck Long timer

    Joined:
    May 5, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,103
    Location:
    Interior BC, Canada
    [FONT=&quot]Wanted to get on the road early today as I have a bit of a big day ahead and not sure what conditions I will encounter. Although breakfast doesn’t start till 7:30, the hotel was good enough to ply me with coffee, fresh fruit, croissants and a couple of bowls of cereal so I can get out by 7.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]
    [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]It was great riding back up the road to Ambato along the river and through the mountains with very little traffic. Trying to keep that little Ecuadorian penalty chart in mind . . . didn’t work. Sure enjoyed it.[/FONT]


    [FONT=&quot]In Ambato I turned off for the National Park with a road around Volcan Chimborazo, an inactive volcano on the way to Cuenca. The road was great. They are upgrading most of it so it was a big construction project until the turnoff back to the Pan American Hwy. However, it was pretty flat gravel and a nice ride.

    [​IMG]

    [/FONT] [FONT=&quot]
    [/FONT][FONT=&quot]The mountain was spectacular. These photos are taken when I was around 13,000 feet so, still a lot of volcano sticking up.[/FONT]


    [​IMG]


    [FONT=&quot][​IMG][/FONT]

    [FONT=&quot]Gained steady altitude and hit my highest altitude so far south of the volcano at about 14,500 ft. Ran across some Llama again and a whole whack of Vicuñas. These are kind of like a cross between a Llama and a deer. Smaller than a Llama and quite skittish. Had a young one run in front of me just like a deer. They are found at higher elevations. Pretty neat looking.[/FONT]

    [FONT=&quot][​IMG][/FONT]

    [FONT=&quot]
    [/FONT]

    [FONT=&quot][FONT=&quot]It is surprisingly flat and arid at this high altitude[/FONT]

    [FONT=&quot][​IMG][/FONT]


    Once cresting the peak, ran into thick fog on the other side. Not a lot of traffic on this road but enough to have to keep an eye for shapes appearing out of the fog. Many Ecuadorians believe headlights are only for nighttime so, you have people bombing through this thick fog (in some cases couldn’t see 50 feet) sans headlights. Made for some pucker moments.[/FONT]


    [FONT=&quot]One of the other things they like to do frequently is "pull over" to water the plants. In Ecuador, pulling over means just stop in the road. All of a sudden you realize there is a shape appearing in front of you . . . it’s in my lane . . . it ain’t moving. :eek2My helmet learned more words today.[/FONT]


    [FONT=&quot]The people living at these high altitudes appear to be more traditional natives with both men and women dressing in their distinctive garb. It is pretty desolate up there and has to take a pretty hardy people to eak out a subsistence. Frequently see men and women in the fields with large hoes harrowing the recently plowed field or, cultivating crops. Will many times see people carrying huge bundles of grasses on their backs to feed their cattle.

    Some of the people living at 13-14,000 feet.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot][​IMG][/FONT]

    [FONT=&quot][​IMG][/FONT]


    [​IMG]

    [FONT=&quot]Down a bit lower, much more conducive to farming. See small plots of corn and other crops. Pastures with beef and dairy cattle. Cattle, pigs and sheep are many times fed the grass growing along the road and they are either tethered or herded, usually by the women.

    [​IMG]

    [/FONT] [FONT=&quot]Soon after rejoining the Pan American Hwy, fog struck again at much lower altitudes. The next 100 km or so was mostly thick fog and drizzle. Going so slow there was no ventilation so had to look over my glasses. Get behind someone else and be patient.

    [/FONT] [FONT=&quot]It was too bad for the fog. A couple of brief breaks allowed a quick view of the scenery which was spectacular.

    [/FONT] [FONT=&quot]Stopped at this little place for an early lunch and had seco de pollo. Delicious. Decent coffee too.

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    [/FONT]
    After the fog, arriving in one little town and they had this picturesque church stuck on a hillside.

    [​IMG]

    See a lot of places along the road with what appears to be a freshly barbequed pig propped up like this. Also, note the cow head . . . not sure what they do with that.
    :dg
    [​IMG]

    Sorry for the quality of some of these pics. I finally got the last part for my Ram-Mount set up and find it difficult to dampen the vibration from the bike for moving shots.

    Finally got into Cuenca, arriving at Posada del Angel located in the old part of town. An old refinished house, it is excellent. Great room, hot water, good WiFi, restaurant. Parking down the street – were going to let me park in a storeroom but I didn’t think my big ass would make it in there.
  15. GSAGiuseppe

    GSAGiuseppe Lewis&Clark Tracker

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    13
    Location:
    Interior of BC
    You're welcome. Glad I made your day :nod:wink:
  16. RexBuck

    RexBuck Long timer

    Joined:
    May 5, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,103
    Location:
    Interior BC, Canada
    Wandered around town a bit on Sunday – fairly quiet. Pretty, old town with lots of nicely maintained older buildings.

    Posada del Angel


    [​IMG]


    I thought the style of some of the older buildings was kind of cool.


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    A night shot down the street


    [​IMG]


    The Plaza looking towards the Cathederal


    [​IMG]


    Flower sellers in front of one of the churches next to the Cathederal


    [​IMG]


    Had this outstanding sammich at the Hostel - first pic is the equally good appy

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    Was sitting around the hostel and heard this racket outside so go out to investigate. Some sort of parade



    [​IMG]


    It stops and they put up this kind of May Pole



    [​IMG]


    Lots of kids, all dressed up in traditional garb


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    Some ladies in their cool hats


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]



    Sunday was Superbowl. I enjoy football but don’t follow it as much as I should, particularly on this trip when I followed it zilch. Couple of weeks ago I realized Superbowl was coming up and was looking for the date to see where I would be on the big day then see if I can find somebody showing the game. Discover to my surprise, that my team is in it.
    Since I would be in Cuenca for the big day find out that an ex-pat bar called the Inca was going to have it on. Only problem is that in Ecuador they can’t serve booze after 4 pm on Sundays . . . bit of a problem when the games starts at like 6:30. So, close the doors at 4 and turn it into a private party, problem solved. They had some pretty good beer on tap which was a nice change from the somewhat bland local beer. :beerOh, the game? :jjen:cry

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  17. RexBuck

    RexBuck Long timer

    Joined:
    May 5, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,103
    Location:
    Interior BC, Canada
    Had my bike in front of the hostel to get loaded up. Came out after paying the bill and there is a guy sitting in his car right behind me. I’m thinking “you have a bit of a wait buddy if you want this space” . . . he comes bounding out, sticks his hand out and introduces himself as a member of the Cuenca Dual Sport Club and welcomes me to Cuenca. Gave me a couple of stickers. Nice guy and unfortunately, I forgot his name. :doh



    [​IMG]



    Really pretty ride to Loja through valleys and (relatively) low mountains. Saw this Land Rover loaded up with literally everything except the kitchen sink. He pulled in behind me when I was stopped for an equipment adjustment. Had a good chat with David who is from Jersey and has been travelling around the world for 18 months so far. Nice guy.



    [​IMG]



    Stopped for lunch that was perfect. Many times in these roadside restaurants, they don’t have a menu and basicly just ask what you want. Learned to just ask for Almuerzo – lunch. Kind of like the Blue Plate special. Soup, this sprouted corn thing they serve warm (good), rice, beans, meat in a sauce. Very hearty - really hits the spot.


    [​IMG]




    [​IMG]


    As I approached Loja, started to notice some sloughing off the banks and a lot of rocks that have rolled down. Came around one corner and there is a pretty good stream across the road. Family doing their laundry in it.

    Then shortly after that came on this mess – looked like this creek really went wild as it roared down this mountain. Good thing this house was in the way or all that crap would have taken out the road.



    [​IMG]


    Saw these little mini-slides frequently along the road.



    [​IMG]



    There are three crossings into Peru. The one at the coast is apparently the big one, the one at Macara in the middle which is smaller and one at La Balza which is a dirt road crossing. Thought the La Balza crossing would be cool but will have to see how the road is. Judging by the amount of rain they've been getting in the area, I'm not too confident. Head to Vilcabamba and see if I could get a room at a Hostel recommended by many.

    Arrived at Hostel Izhcayluma which is a very neat joint on the hill overlooking Vilcabamba. Only have a room for one night so decided to stay the night then go back to Loja for a night. Would have liked to stay at Izhcayluma longer as they have some nice hikes in the area and other things to do at the hostel.



    [​IMG]




    [​IMG]


    The view


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]



    Given all this rain and the sliding I saw coming into Loja, I definitely will not be taking the little crossing into Peru. Which is fine. Talking to one of the Overlander couples who just came up that road they said the road to La Balza was very wet and very slick clay. They were having difficulty steering in a 4x4. With my demonstrated prowess in mud, it was an easy decision.


    Short ride back to Loja for another night- have to go there anyhow to get the road to Macara. Wanted to get a couple of things dealt with before leaving for Peru.


    Found a decent hotel - Hotel Podacarpus – secure parking & good internet.

    In Latin America, many things are built to accommodate the people here. We North Americans are somewhat larger than the locals and you many times run into (literally) things built for the shorter people here like this TV support.



    [​IMG]




    Couldn’t find a place for dinner so settle for a sandwich and Inca Kola. Inca is a Peruvian soft drink and first reminded me of Cream Soda but then had a bit of a bubble gum after taste. Believe it or not, wasn’t bad.


    [​IMG]


    Two other items


    SOAT - That is the Ecuadorian vehicle insurance. It is mandatory. When we crossed into Ecuador, the office at the border that sold insurance was having computer problems and told us to buy it in Quito. First clue it may not be that big of a deal. I tried at least a half dozen times to buy the damned stuff and could never find the right place to buy it. Found lots of places that sold it but they either didn't have what I needed or wouldn't sell for an imported bike. Went through tons of police roadblocks and they usually waved me through when they saw I was a foreigner - never once asked for proof of insurance.


    My pet peve in Ecuador (and to a lesser extent, Colombia). Car alarms. For some reason the car manufacturers don’t install car alarms at the factory down here so, everyone decides they need those stupid after-market alarms that go through a whole range of sounds from sirens to beeps to buzzers. And they chirp from one to four times every time the arm/disarm the little nuisances. And nobody seems to know how to operate them - they go off when you start the car, they go off when you stop the car, they go off when somebody lets off a firecracker nearby (like all the time).


    Everybody has them, they are always going off by accident, everybody ignores them . . . what’s the point? Maybe it’s a status symbol down here, I don’t know. But if anyone knows where those things are made and can blow up the factory, the world will be truly thankful. :kboom

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  18. RexBuck

    RexBuck Long timer

    Joined:
    May 5, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,103
    Location:
    Interior BC, Canada
    Road through the mountains heading to the Macara border crossing was quite plesant. Nice curves, great scenery and pretty good pavement.

    Right out of Loja I run into stopped traffic. As the line moves up I discover the lane going the other way is stopped at about the same place. Bunch of folks with clipboards are interviewing people going through. Decided to give it a pass and just rode around. If those poor kids tried to give me a survey in Spanish, it would be akin to trying to teach a dog to sing: You’ll just frustrate yourself and piss off the dog. Ran into groups of people doing these surveys all along the highway.

    As I got down towards the border, started to see lots of donkeys, goats and pigs wandering on the road. Had to keep a sharp lookout as they liked to stand in the road just around a number of corners.

    [​IMG]


    Four gas stations in Macara. First one had no gas, second one was closed, third one had gas and I stopped at and fourth one looked like it had gas. When I turned in, I was stopped right at the entrance by a guard wanting to know what I wanted. Told him and he directed me to a pump. That was so cool! I would have never been able to figure out which pump was available. At the pump there was also a Policeman (Ecuador police) and an Ecuadorian Army guy. They all left me alone but I thought it strange to have so much security at the gas station. Maybe Peruvians try to come up here for gas? Theivin furners!

    This had to be the best and least painful boarder crossing ever. Total of an hour and 10 minutes which included about 20 minutes to wander over to the old boarder crossing to buy Peruvian SOAT insurance for the bike. It looks like they just built a new bridge so Migracion and Aduanas on both sides were in temporary quarters. I think I was the first one through for the day that needed a passport stamp and vehicle documents. Just local traffic and trucks. Very tranquilo. :clap

    Ecuador


    [​IMG]


    New bridge


    [​IMG]


    Peru


    [​IMG]



    Get stopped at an Aduana roadblock a few miles down the road to check documents. No problem other than a bus in front of me where they had to check out all the luggage compartments.

    Road straightens out now as we approach the desert and then enter the desert. Looks like they have a good source of irrigation water as there are miles and miles of mango orchards and a fair amount of rice. Fields aren’t quite flat so have a fairly complex terracing job for the rice.



    [​IMG]


    Stopped to take a picture of the mangos on the trees and a little three wheeler carrying 3 or 4 guys and a bunch of wood on the back. Stops ahead of me and motions me to come up. Just see these hands sticking out the side waving me up. So I stop and one of the guys hops out, big smile, shakes my hand and offers me a bunch of undersized mangoes. That was really nice of them and they were really good. The Peruvian people are already proving their friendliness.


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    Little three wheeler moto taxis everywhere . . . literally. It looks like some people might even use them for personal vehicles. Mangos being harvested now and many are loaded down with boxes of mangos that they drop off to be loaded on to larger trucks. There was probably about 500 pounds of mangoes on the back and inside of that 3 wheeler on the right. Pretty typical until their suspension broke then they had to cut back to 400 or so.



    [​IMG]


    Truck probably headed to the city


    [​IMG]


    Even have some grapes


    [​IMG]


    Got to the hotel. Kind of a boutique thing in a residential neighborhood. Get checked in and ask where the parking is. “Uhh, we don’t have parking.” Well on your website it says you do. Well we really don’t but you can park your moto inside in the front courtyard. Works for me. Little tight getting in over the curb and simultaneously make a hard right to miss the door and then over the sidewalk – up and down, round and round . . .

    Went down to the park about a block away for dinner. Had pork costillas.



    [​IMG]



    Give you a bunch of fried plantains and some sort of hard corn thing – kind of like peanuts except corn as an appy. Great with beer.


    [​IMG]


    Had a Cusqueña Beer. Black beer but not too heavy. Nice having a beer with body for a change (well except at the Superbowl, that was good too). Immediately my favorite Peruvian beer.

    [​IMG]

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  19. RexBuck

    RexBuck Long timer

    Joined:
    May 5, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,103
    Location:
    Interior BC, Canada
    Got the bike turned around in the crampted quarters – had to move some big plants. Then was able to ride it out. Sorry I didn’t get t pic – thought I did.

    Heading out of town and these 3-wheelers swarm around you like the little motos do in Colombia. I think they only have a top speed of 25 or 30 kilometers an hour. Some of them get modded right up. You be riddin in style with this BMF . . .



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    Most of the little three wheelers are stock. The largest brand I saw represented here were Hondas. And they are all the same color combo.


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    Stopped to take a pic of the traffic and these two guys rush over, one grabs my camera and his buddy sidles up next to me, take a pic and then they swap places. Ask about my trip, shake my hand and off they go.



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    Comment here about my first impressions of Peru. The people in rural areas seem noticeably poorer. People on the desert where I don’t think it gets cold mostly live in these houses basically made of sticks. This is a smaller one – some are a lot larger. Notice however the little solar panel. They aren't completely without civilization.


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    Having said that, many of the people I have run into so far have been very friendly. I’m getting waved at, honked at and lights flashed at more than any other country. At gas stations, I tend to attract a crowd. Lots of questions about the bike and the trip.

    Back to the ride. Pretty straight for the first 150 km except for one little part when we went over the first line of hills. Straight across the desert then all of a sudden some perfect twisties for about 5 minutes then straight again. That was quite the sensation. Actually dragged a peg.


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    At Olmos, turn onto a different highway and get pulled over by a couple of cops at an impromptu checkpoint. Asks for my documents. Give him the document you receive at the border for the bike and he stood there reading every word of it. I don’t think he’d seen one before. Then asked for my license and stared at that for a couple of minutes. Handed it all back to me and waved me on.

    Started climbing up into the Andes again. Great twisties. Nice views. A little truck and bus traffic. Then it got a little foggy. Then it got real foggy. Then I shit myself. Came too close to having serious problems. My fault.

    Fog got worse and I welcomed a bus and truck to follow in first gear – couldn’t see anything anyhow. And, I needed to relax. Finally headed down hill and got out of it.

    Stopped in a little town for lunch. Had Gallina Guisado. Gallina is an older chicken. Good. A lot of people complain about the local food but I think it’s tasty and hearty and really fills you up. 7 soles including a Coke. Little less than $3 (That's pieces of neck in the soup . . . I sure hope they could reuse those)



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    This lousy picture is a dam to control flooding of Chamaya River to protect some pretty extensive rice farms for miles below it. You can see where the lake was and it was there recently


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    Got into Jaen and after trying a few places, tracked down Hotel Prims downtown. A bit pricy at 70 soles (little less than $30.) But, HW, WiFi, Parking (although 3 blocks away). Good to go.

    Just remembered they have 220v power in Peru. Guess all my stuff is ok cause none of it’s fried yet. Even my little power bar that is only rated 120 seems to be fine.

    Walking around town, come across this construction project. Pouring concrete. No cement truck, no cement pumper. Just a lot of guys with a mixer, shovels and buckets. Took about 4 guys on the mixing end measuring sand and gravel (rocks - big gravel), two guys bucketed/shoveled concrete into the buckets to be carried and 3 or 4 guys carried the buckets of concrete to where it was dumped down a chute.


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  20. going south

    going south hero & Zero...

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,191
    Location:
    Alaska, Mazatlan. sometimes seattle!
    I haven't posted here in awhile, but I am still following along, really great pictures & narrative...

    I even got the wife reading this RR....